Foodservice giant Brakes claims its business will benefit from lower interest rates on its £1.5bn debt in the year ahead.

The debt had grown from £1.3bn to £1.5bn because much of it was borrowed in euros and had been hit by the weak pound.

Accounts shown to The Grocer show its turnover in the UK rose 9.7% in the year to December 2008, helped by its acquisition of Woodward Foodservice.

Overall sales rose 13% to £2.047bn, helped by the acquisition of Rault in France and O'Kane Foodservice in Ireland.

However, the company made a pre-tax loss of £100m, mainly because of repayments of shareholder loans to its private equity owner, said chief financial officer Matthew Fearn.

He said the business generated strong cashflows of £109.4m, comfortably ahead of net cash interest payments of £83.5m.

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